DALLAS (CN) - A model and fashion blogger who lost a hand and an eye when she was struck by an airplane propeller has rejected a $200,000 settlement offer and sued the plane's insurer.
Lauren Scruggs, 23, of Collin County, had just taken a tour of Christmas light displays when she was disfigured by a plane owned by defendants Shell Aviation and Michael Shell.
The pilot, defendant Curt Richmond, had brought the plane to a stop but left the engine running and the propeller spinning.
Scruggs' complaint in Dallas County Court says the plane was insured by defendant Aggressive Insurance Services, as was a separate plane owned by Richmond. The policy for Richmond's plane contained a provision that extends coverage to other planes he piloted.
Both policies had limits of $1 million per occurrence and a sublimit of $100,000 per passenger. Both policies define the term "passenger" as "any person, other than the pilot, who is in the aircraft or getting in or out of it," according to her complaint.
Scruggs said Aggressive offered to pay her the $100,000 sublimit for each of the policies for a total settlement of $200,000. She said the insurer took the position that she was a "passenger" as defined by both policies.
Scruggs disagreed, saying that the sublimits are not applicable because she was not a "passenger,"and that "she was not in the aircraft or getting in or out of it at the time of the incident."
She claims that "she had completed her exit from the aircraft prior to the time of the incident and was physically located on the tarmac when the incident happened. Until struck by the propeller, she was not in physical contact with the aircraft after her exit."
Seeking declaratory judgment, Scruggs asked the court to interpret the definition of "passenger" in the policy, and more specifically,to determine the scope of the phrase "getting out of" the plane as it relates to the definition of a "passenger."
Scruggs is represented by William Angelley with Hightower Angelley in Dallas. Correction
DALLAS (CN) - A model who lost a hand and an eye to an airplane propeller did not "reject" an insurer's settlement offer of $200,000 as Courthouse News reported Tuesday morning - she neither accepted nor rejected it, but asked a judge to clarify the meaning of the policy, NBC and the Dallas Morning News reported later Tuesday, citing the CNS report and Lauren Scruggs' attorney.
Both NBC and the Morning News reported that attorneys for Scruggs and for Aggressive Insurance had reached an agreement on Scruggs' complaint in Dallas County Court, the terms of which were not released.
Scruggs asked a judge to determine the meaning of the word "passenger" in her insurance policy, as she was on the tarmac when the propeller accident happened.
The Morning News reported that it received a "release" called "A Joint Statement by Lauren Scruggs Attorneys Hightower Angelley, LLP, and Aggressive Insurance, LLC On Declaratory Judgment Action."
The Morning News reported that the statement said, in full: "Contrary to an earlier report from Courthouse News Service that Lauren Scruggs, the 23-year-old Texan struck by a moving propeller, rejected an offer of settlement, attorneys for Ms. Scruggs wish to clarify that she neither accepted nor rejected the insurance company's offer. Instead, during ongoing negotiations, Ms. Scruggs filed a declaratory judgment action in Dallas County seeking interpretation of the insurance policy by the court.
"This afternoon, Hightower Angelley, LLP, attorneys for Ms. Scruggs, and Aggressive Insurance Services, LLC, jointly announce that they have resolved the issues raised in the declaratory judgment action. William Angelley compliments Aggressive Insurance for its professionalism and open communication in working to resolve this dispute."